Rebecca Szeto Turns Used, Tarnished Paintbrushes and Transforms Them Into Extravagant Women

Rebecca Szeto - Mixed MediaRebecca Szeto - Mixed MediaRebecca Szeto - Mixed Media

Have you ever finished a painting and completely destroyed your brushes, wondering if you would ever use your beloved, mangled, crusty tools again? Well, here is one artist that has found good use of old, filthy brushes. Rebecca Szeto takes found, used brushes, especially ones that could never be used again, and transforms them into little masterpieces of their own. The handle of her brushes are carved and painted to appear as fancy women, while the bottom bristles of the brush are left to look as they originally appear. With a little creativity and ingenuity, Rebecca Szeto makes the wider bottoms look like dress skirts. The stained, curled up bristles are now fringes to an elaborate gown, the paint being its silk.

The women Szeto’s brushes magically become many different kinds of women, taking on the form of all different shapes and sizes. They include women of different ethnicities and origins; one even portrays a mother adoringly holding her baby. You may have noticed some of the brush-women looking familiar to you. This is because several of the characters hold an art historical significance. For example, one woman is obviously Vermeer’s The Girl With the Pearl Earring, while another, maybe not so obviously, is the little girl in Diego Velasquez’s Las Meninas. Rebecca Szeto has cleverly taken an object that would normally be discarded, and with a little patience and skills, transformed it into something unique and amazing. Szeto explains further her intent behind these little women and what they convey.

“These works are an homage to an often lost sensibility and quality of touch and thought, not simply the superficial look of Old Masters’ works. The lady-like portraits are a playful strategy I use to introduce the more indelicate and subtler aspects of waste management and working women (underestimated, underpaid, unnoticed, yet unyielding).”

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Patricia Piccinini’s Hyperreal, Mutated Creatures Raise Questions Of Genetic Manipulation and Cloning

Patricia Piccinini - Silicone, Acrylic, FiberglassPatricia Piccinini - Silicone, Acrylic, FiberglassPatricia Piccinini - Silicone, Acrylic, Fiberglass

Patricia Piccinini - Silicone, Acrylic, Fiberglass

Artist Patricia Piccinini has a very impressive and eclectic range of artistic talents. Her body of work includes drawings, installations, and even a giant hot-air balloon that has floated across Australia. Her astonishingly hyper-real sculptures, however, truly give you an image that you will not soon forget. Made from silicone, acrylic, and fiberglass, Patricia Piccinini forms creatures that appear to be somewhat human, but altogether alien. They seem to be alive, as they stare back at you with emotion-filled eyes. They exhibit traits of humans, like lifelike hair and fleshy skin, but are unmistakably not. It is as if they are hybrid animals living amongst us. Many of her sculptures include one of her hairless, mutated creatures alongside of what appears to be a real human. The dichotomy between this possible mutated creatures and a “human” is interesting, because neither one is actually real.

Patricia Piccinini’s work explores ethical issues surrounding cloning, DNA, and genetic mutation. Her shocking sculptures point a firm finger at human kind’s manipulation of nature and the possible consequences. The effect science has on the natural world and the creatures inhabiting it are a reoccurring theme in Piccinini’s work. We see her sculptures that look so realistic; it is as if these grotesque creatures really do exist. Portraying them with human-like features gives way to pity and empathy for the creatures. The artist’s incredibly intriguing work is one of unbelievable skill that holds a strong, often controversial, message on genetic alteration and mankind’s hand in nature.
(via Hi-Fructose)

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Guy Laramee Transforms The Pages Of A Book Into Rolling Hills And Rock Formations

Guy Laramee - Mixed MediaGuy Laramee - Mixed MediaGuy Laramee - Mixed Media

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this artist takes the written word and uses it to carve rolling hills and steep mountains. Artist Guy Laramee transforms the pages of a book into a breathtaking a landscape by carving and shaping its pages into different geography. He uses books like encyclopedias and dictionaries to create mostly cliffs and steep rock formations. These tiny environments are incredibly detailed, as you can see each small tree, bush, and layer of earth. It is as if the pages have been corroded away, producing new form in the books. Erosion is a heavy theme in Guy Laramee’s body of work. Interested in ethnography, he explains that parts of cultures are often eroded away, lost to the hands of time. As technology advances, in print materials, such as encyclopedias, are on their way to being obsolete. The artist uses these “archaic” tools and utilizes them in a new way. Once a source for knowledge, now questions what is at risk of being lost culturally if these physical books do indeed disappear.

Guy Laramee is not just a talented paper sculpture, as you can see from the covers of the books he uses. He beautifully paints birds and sky on the covers and displays them upright so that you can see both sides. Both the inside and outside of these books are transformed into something amazing, showing different forms of nature. His miniature environments and ecosystems now live in the pages of books, reminding us of what stories and knowledge could possibly lay between the pages.

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Elliot Schultz Has Combined Embroidery And Turntables To Form A Groundbreaking Zoetrope Animation

Elliot Schultz - Mixed Media

Elliot Schultz - Mixed Media

Elliot Schultz - Mixed Media

What is more fascination than the moving image? How about a technique that creates moving images without any film? Artist Elliot Schultz has refined his own version of zoetropes, which is a method of filmless animation. This magic is created by taking a series of images and rotating them in a fast pace. Combined with the use of a strobe light, the sequence appears seamless as if it is the same image moving over and over. Schultz has taken this traditional technique and made it his own. He stitches wiggling worms, dripping water, and old men walking onto fabric in the shape of a circle. These ten-inch discs are the perfect size to be placed onto any turntable, and what is a turntable best for if not to spin! The embroidered images are rotated so fast that it appears just as if they are moving. Since strobe lights often go along with clubs, djs, and turntables, using this unique method almost seems a natural fit for a zoetrope.

Early inventions of the pin screen along with other alternative animation methods have deeply influenced Schultz’s work. He finds inspiration in engineers and animators involved with early cinema such as Claire Parker and Alexandre Alexeieff. Schultz is always experimenting with new mediums and techniques to further develop his interesting series. This incredibly innovative artist is somewhat of an engineer himself, bringing a bit of the history of animation into the contemporary world of electronic music and turntables. (via This is Colossal)

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Danielle Lawrence’s Abstract Paintings Erupt Out Of Their Frame, Commenting on Patriarchal Structures And Its Restraints

Danielle Lawrence - Enamel and Wood

Danielle Lawrence - Enamel and Wood

Danielle Lawrence - Enamel and Wood

Danielle Lawrence - Enamel, Plastic, and Wood

It is always exciting and refreshing to see traditional art methods used in a whole new way. Artist Danielle Lawrence‘s fresh eye on contemporary art takes the conventional framed painting and transforms it into highly textural and sculptural work, taking it to another level. In her work, the frame is often still present, but the art inside it is spilling out, exploding from the frame that confines it. It is almost as if the paint has a life of its own, trying to escape from the cage and constraint we have given it. Lawrence explains that the frame is a symbol of patriarchal structures and restriction.

Lawrence’s non-representational painting method allows the colors to melt and drip, creating incredible movement in each piece. These colors appear bent, folded, and manipulated, creating organic forms. Each bright, glossy color erupting from each canvas and frame turns the typical two-dimensional painting into a more palpable, three-dimensional piece that reaches out at the viewer. Her artistic journey began while experimenting using trash as subject. Still pulling inspiration from found objects, the artist’s work often includes items from her studio, including plastic bags and bubble wrap. Lawrence’s take on form and material is both chaotic and structured, creating order out of an eclectic range of colors and media. She flawlessly creates a beautifully balanced mixture of classic painting methods with a new, contemporary approach.

She’s an avowed formalist with an eye to the street. Her works are lustrous and abject, smooth and sharp, blunt and sophisticated. While painting is clearly her passion, she makes promiscuous use of other media: sculpture, drawing, photography and video.

-Glen Helfand, ArtForum

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The Incredibly Sad Spaghetti Monster Of Artist Theo Mercier

Theo Mercier - Spaghetti, Installation

Theo Mercier - Spaghetti, Installation

Theo Mercier - Spaghetti, Installation

Internationally renowned artist Theo Mercier has created an incredible monster of a sculpture made entirely of spaghetti! This textural, monumental piece is around 10 feet tall, and that’s when it is sitting—which is all the time. The spaghetti monster sits upon a small chair that is way too small for him as he stairs sadly down at the ground. Titled Le Solitaire, or, “The Loner,” this creature looks isolated and alone in a world where he is the only spaghetti-creature. Although the colossal sculpture seems very melancholy, Mercier’s work tend to not be without a bit of humor. A monster made of spaghetti is an absurd and silly creation, so why is it so glum? Maybe it is afraid that us humans will eat his spaghetti!

Mercier’s work is often large and textural, as Le Solitaire’s tactile spaghetti-skin begs to be touched. The noodles form an endless series of lines bending and forming across the body of the creature. They imitate scribbles of continuous lines doodled on a piece of paper. A self-taught artist, Mercier is an expert at inducing strong emotions with such a bizarre and surreal sculpture. We cannot help to feel sorry for this dripping, sorrowful beast. Its wide, striking eyes that stare directly at the viewer are also in other works for Mercier’s. His other installations include funny creatures made by adding these same bright eyes onto cars, piles of hay, and even smoke seeping out from a fireplace. This French artist’s unusual and mysterious sculptures give inanimate objects such emotion and personality that steal our hearts and earn our love.

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Takahiro Iwasaki Constructs Elaborate Landscapes From Cloth, Dust, And Human Hair

Takahiro Iwasaki - Cloth, fibers, dust, human hair

Takahiro Iwasaki - Cloth, fibers, dust, human hair

Takahiro Iwasaki - Cloth, fibers, dust, human hair

Artist Takahiro Iwasaki is a master when it comes to constructing elaborate, miniature landscapes. However, these small-scale scenes are not formed from Lego’s, but from much more unlikely and unstable items such as cloth fiber, dust, and human hair. This Japanese artist takes the most miniscule, seemingly insignificant materials and uses them to create something incredibly complex and enchanting. His newest installations, which are part of the series titled Out of Disorder, contain mini-scenes of recognizable landmarks such as Coney Island, ferris wheel and all. Inspired by painted landscapes on Japanese folding screens, Iwasaki comments on his work in relation to its inspiration.

“Just as the artist of the screens did, I would like to revisit a commonplace everyday scene from today’s Japan, and just as the screens embody a smooth flow from one season to the next, I hope to capture, in my work, the graceful transition of a Japanese landscape from past to present.”

Each tree, building, factory, and rollercoaster in Iwasaki’s work are brightly colored and fragile, as many of them are enclosed in a glass case. This glass reveals one of the most captivating elements of the landscapes; the layers of clothing that make up the earth in many of the installations. Each cloth is filled with diverse colors and clashing patterns, revealing a mishmash of layers that resemble section of sediment in the soil. They form the rolling hills and steep slopes that make up the miniature environments. However, not all of the artist’s creations are constructed from recycled cloth, but from toothbrushes, as well. Telephone towers sprout out of Iwasaki’s toothbrush bristles in this strange yet familiar installation. Out of Disorder is on display now at Takahiro Iwasaki’s first solo show Takahiro Iwasaki: In Focus at the Asian Society Museum in New York. (via Spoon & Tamago)

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Kristin Bauer And Emmett Potter’s Appropriations Of Pop Culture

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A good collaborative gallery show is like a good relationship—each artist’s work supports the other without being repetitive or unharmonious. “The Give and Take,” an exhibition in The Joseph Gross Gallery at The University of Arizona School of Art by Kristin Bauer and Emmett Potter, works on both levels. The married couple often collaborates and has exhibited together on numerous occasions.

The artists both work in multimedia and they share a similar aesthetic and point of view. Bauer says,

“I often juxtapose two or more iconic references or material of my own creating, drawing from a wide range of sources that spans anything from Renaissance sculpture to Jayne Mansfield, Shakespeare to Spielberg films, the Great Gatsby to Cheap Trick. How we make meaning of things as cognitive creatures, what we attach to and what we are repelled by is what keeps me engaged.”

Similarly, Potter incorporates vintage comic book imagery into his work. He combines different color palettes and emphasizes what is absent against what is present, making pointed statements about pop-culture. Both Bauer and Potter adapt, appropriate, alter and excavate our shared public domain in an attempt to decode how we attach meaning to the iconography of our culture.

On exhibit since May 28, a closing reception for “The Give and Take” will be held on August 29 from 5:30-7 p.m.

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